Tag Archives: competences

Book review: The Dead Presidents’ Guide to Project Management. Essential lessons for project managers and sponsors

presJim Johnson wrote the book The Dead Presidents’ Guide to Project Management. Essential lessons for project managers and sponsors.

It considers 38 brief lessons from George Washington to Ronald Reagan.

The president of the United States must be a good project manager as well as a good project sponsor.

  • Good project manager: uses domain knowledge, skills, tools and techniques, is a servant-leader, must have skills to influence, to work enthousiastically, is goal oriented, must have good connections, is a good negotiater, delivers bad news early and bravely, provides solutions and is truthful;
  • Good project sponsor: must inspire people, is enthusiastic, must have imagination, must have clarity of purpose, can effectively distribute decision power, and understands the process of government and influence to get anything done.

For every president we get an illustration by Kayla Johnson, a three page introduction and lesson focussing on specific competences you need as a project manager or project sponsor and a quote.

E.g. Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States from 1801 to 1809. He used an iterative process and methodology when building his home Monticello. He was not afraid to tear something down and enforced change management. His apprach was to develop new features in small, unobtrusive increments. When did we say that agile started?

I summarized the quotes in attached figure including pictures of all dead presidents (download: dead presidents).


Transparency by the Project Manager

4e0325a51bf24Last week I visited the exhibition In search of meaning (Museum De Fundatie, Zwolle, Netherlands). One of the statues was from the British sculptor Antony Gormley. This artist created many statues and the picture shows one of my favorites (was not on the exhibition).

This is what I call transparency. And transparency is something that becomes more and more important in the world of projects. At last I would say.

I see the following reasons for more transparency:

  • Senior managers want to have more successful projects and want to know what is really happening;
  • External stakeholders like the DNB or AFM want to know the real status of change initiatives;
  • Project managers want to inform much earlier how they are progressing. They are not there to please their project executive;
  • Project managers want to show, by using the right RAG status that they have their projects under control. To report Amber and explain the options they are investigating to bring the project on track again, shows that they are really in control. This also gives project executives the chance to intervene. Compare this with a situation where a project manager surprises the project executive with a Red status;images-12
  • Transparency means: I have nothing to hide;
  • Transparency means: my green RAG status is really green and is not a melon;
  • Transparency will help other project managers to manage dependences.

Article: Acts of leadership in complex projects’ from Ben Berndt

projectieIn the latest version of Projectie (Febr. 2015, number 1) I found an interesting article about ‘Acts of leadership in complex projects’ from Ben Berndt.

“In the project management arena it seems common understanding that project managers profile as highly result- and action- driven. Although project management academia nuances this topic, stressing leadership characteristics like team leadership, personal effectiveness, and e.g. interpersonal understanding, others (indeed) focus on achievement orientation. Research by Gehring (2007) concludes with a set of favourable MBTI (Meyers-Briggs) types, with Thinking and Judging (“TJ’s”) as preferred indicators. TJ’s see the world as logical and like to have matters settled. In “Management Drives” terminology this relates to orange, red, yellow profiles. Author’s pragmatic research as a program manager on projects X & Y indicates that in complex projects, where one deals with messy problems, another profile might prevail: one that understands patterns, believes in the wisdom of crowds”

This article reflects some insights from Ben Berndt’s book ‘The metis of projects’. See the review on this blog: The metis of projects

To download (with permission from the editor): Pro_01_2015 (page 1) Pro_01_2015 (page 2) Pro_01_2015 (page 3) Pro_01_2015 (page 4)

Project management skills

wellington-logoI received from Hannah Francis from Wellingtone Project Management some interesting links from their blog. Have a look.


How to give a constructive criticism sandwich

how-to-give-a-constructive-criticism-sandwich-infographichow-to-give-a-constructive-criticism-sandwich-infographic-versionConstructive criticism – Is the sandwich technique really the way to go?

Many of my posts are related to standards, processes, methodologies etc. To be successful as a project manager you need to have other competencies too. Are you able to motivate your team, to solve conflicts, to negotiate and to get the most out of your team by giving constructive feedback. I just received an article from Alison Wood. She works as the Communications Manager and graphic designer for Knowledge Train (http://www.knowledgetrain.co.uk) , a London based project management training provider.

“As a manager, giving constructive criticism is an essential driver to reaching maximum potential for the business.Some employees will require it more than others and some will need extra support, every employee is different and getting to know how each one operates is key if you are going to support their personal improvements.”

Have a look at the complete article or click on the short or long infographic and share your thoughts how this can help you in being more successful. Article: Constructive criticism